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Author Topic:   My Beliefs- GDR
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 856 of 1324 (704069)
08-02-2013 10:10 PM
Reply to: Message 855 by Rahvin
08-02-2013 3:21 PM


Iím running into a problem. Iím numerous posts behind in my replies and I donít have the time to catch up. Also many of the discussions overlap. Iíd like to try and post a generic response that covers the most of the things we are discussing.

Rahvin has just spent a great deal of time putting together a post and so if he would like to continue it I think it would be interesting. I would just ask him to read this post through and make any changes to his post that he would like or he can let it stand as is. Iíll wait to hear back.

Straggler asks if I see everything as evidence of Tom. In a way I do. I canít begin to muster up enough confidence in the idea that we are the result of absolutely mindless origins, and I understand that you guys canít begin to muster up enough confidence to believe in an intelligence being responsible for our existence, let alone one that is somehow influencing us. We start from those diametrically opposed positions and we all come to the discussions with our own biases. However I gave my rationale for my beliefs in the OP.

In regards to the discussion of how we perceive the world this is how I see it. Yes, when we visualize something we can view the activity it causes in the brain with a brain scan, and apparently now they are even able to partially return the image. If they can do that now, then presumably they will eventually be able to accurately retrieve the image. However, when we look at something we donít see the image in our brain. We see it outside the brain and in the case of starts millions of light years away. When we hear a sound we donít hear it in our brain but outside of our body again. When we stub our toe we feel it in the toe, not the brain. In other words even though our brain interprets, computes or whatever term you want to use, the information in our brain, we perceive the information outside of our brain. I know you guys will disagree, but what it tells me is that information does exist outside of the brain.

Yes, the brain is a necessary part of the process. It interprets all of the information presented to it. In some ways it is even able to store information and recall it later. However, we might have a memory of what someone looks like and we can recall it later, but we canít reproduce the actual visual picture of someone unless they are in view.

I agree that mental illness or drugs can completely skew our perceptions. They not only skew our perceptions of the world but they skew our reasoning as well. The photons of light that enter our eye reflecting a view of a tree in the distance can be skewed if we have glaucoma or some other problem with our vision. In the same way if there is a problem with the brain then again the image can be skewed. However, no matter what we still donít see the tree in our brain, or in our eyes for that matter. We still see the distorted view out in front of us, even though there is no screen equivalent.

From my reading of popular science I understand that information passes between entangled particles at infinite speed over great distances. The fact that we observe something causes a perceived result in what it is we are viewing indicating that information must pass between our consciousness and what we observe or measure.
In other words I am saying that information doesnít just exist in brains but is essentially non-locational. I am also not saying that science will never be able to understand all of this. Maybe they will find a quantum informational field or something - who knows?

The point of all this is that information exists outside of the brain and our consciousness perceives the world outside our brain. Also if information can be passed between particles then I see no reason to discount the idea that ďIFĒ Tom exists that there is any reason to think that Tom wouldnít be able to touch our consciousness through the brain with thoughts of morality.

In the end we come at this from points of view that are polar opposites. We agree on the idea that natural processes play a huge role in our lives but we disagree on whether life exists due to an intelligent agent or to mindless processes.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 855 by Rahvin, posted 08-02-2013 3:21 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 857 by Tangle, posted 08-03-2013 3:26 AM GDR has responded
 Message 858 by Straggler, posted 08-03-2013 6:18 AM GDR has responded

    
Tangle
Member
Posts: 6913
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.2


(3)
Message 857 of 1324 (704076)
08-03-2013 3:26 AM
Reply to: Message 856 by GDR
08-02-2013 10:10 PM


GDR writes:

The point of all this is that information exists outside of the brain and our consciousness perceives the world outside our brain. Also if information can be passed between particles then I see no reason to discount the idea that ďIFĒ Tom exists that there is any reason to think that Tom wouldnít be able to touch our consciousness through the brain with thoughts of morality.

Well you've just invented a whole pile of woo for no obvious reason. If Tom exists he can do whatever he wants - he's God, for God's sake! If he want to interfere with our sense of morality he can and we'd never know. (There goes the entire oncept of free will, but never mind.)

I've no idea why religious believers feel that they have to invent parascience inorder to shore up their beliefs. Faith has to invent pretty much every branch of natural science to sustain her beliefs - why can't you just say it's miraculous like they did when they invented the religions to start with?


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

This message is a reply to:
 Message 856 by GDR, posted 08-02-2013 10:10 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 860 by GDR, posted 08-03-2013 1:28 PM Tangle has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(3)
Message 858 of 1324 (704077)
08-03-2013 6:18 AM
Reply to: Message 856 by GDR
08-02-2013 10:10 PM


GDR writes:

We start from those diametrically opposed positions and we all come to the discussions with our own biases.

Other than the patently flawed "You cannot disprove what I choose to believe" position the second most frequently cited argument in these sorts of discussions is the "We are just applying equally valid world views to come to equal but opposite conclusions" position.

But again this is obviously not true.

No matter the strength of conviction or the eloquence with which it is expressed we still come back to the same fact.

On one hand we have scientifically evidenced and scientifically consistent conclusions. On the other side we have unevidenced invisible "Tom" exerting unevidenced invisible influence on some unevidenced and invisible aspect of our human selves.

Rationally speaking there is just no way that the two positions can be considered equally accurate or reliable in terms of the conclusions reached.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 856 by GDR, posted 08-02-2013 10:10 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 861 by GDR, posted 08-03-2013 4:09 PM Straggler has responded

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 61 days)
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(3)
Message 859 of 1324 (704080)
08-03-2013 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 800 by GDR
07-29-2013 12:18 AM


Re: Suffering
Sorry for the tardiness of the reply GDR. Since I know that you're having trouble with all these replies, feel free to take your time should you choose to respond.

Well I do believe in a general theistic deity but as a Christian I do have beliefs that are specific to Christianity.

I don't think that makes a shred of sense. You can't claim belief in a general deity if you believe in a specific version of the Christian one.

Actually that isnít the case. What makes you the arbiter of what is true Christianity. My beliefs are actually pretty mainstream Anglicanism and I am consistent with the writings of C S Lewis. The Christian scholar who has most influenced my thinking is N T Wright who is considered one of the top, if not the top, (depending on who you talk to of course), Christian scholar alive today.

Just because you're not the only one doing it doesn't mean that you're not engaging in Cafeteria Christianity. Frankly, the whole Christian faith seems to me to exist as a Cafeteria version of Judaism in the first place.

The evolution of our understanding of GHod as Wright describes it is nothing more than a gradual erosion of ideas as they became untenable. The history of religious belief has followed this pattern of downscaling. First the countless vague spirits of animism gave way to more discrete multiple Gods, then they gradually merged into a single all-powerful God, then a rather more distant God. Now that God is being stripped of his traditional responsibilities. Where once he was believed to have created humanity, now he merely oversees it.

What you and Wright see as an evolution and refinement of our understanding of God, I see as a simple process of ignorance and superstition being pushed back as societies advance. First many gods, then one then none.

I donít take the Bible as inerrant. I donít think that our understanding of either God or Tom is just as simple as going to a Holy Book and essentially deifying it so that we can get direct answers from God, or Allah for that matter.

I don't think that you're doing that though. The bit that I think you're deifying is yourself. All you're really doing is filtering Christian teachings through your own moral framework and calling the results "God". But it's not God. It's just you.

No, thatís not true either. I did as come to the conclusion that we donít necessarily require a first cause for the universe on the grounds that if our universe is just one part of a greater whole, and if the whole has multiple time dimensions then our universe could be part of an infinite universe and not require a first cause.

Thus handily allowing you to disassociate yourself from the more traditional Christian belief that God created the visible universe and the world. A textbook God-of-the-Gaps climbdown.

However I do assign to God the responsibility for life,

A textbook gap in our scientific understanding in which a weakened and outdated concept can find refuge. Classic God-of-the-Gaps stuff.

and in addition, if my highly speculative suggestion is correct, He is responsible for all life perceiving the universe in the manner that we do.

And it is only the fact that we still lack a complete understanding how conciousness arises from our brains that allows you to place your god into this gap.

I also donít believe that He merely influenced evolution but that evolution would not have taken place at all if it werenít for God.

That is completely counter to the known facts. The gap here exists only in your mind.

The whole point of evolutionary theory is that evolution is inevitable. It has to happen and can't not happen. If you have life reproducing with imperfect heredity and in competition for scare resources, then you have necessarily have evolution. Any notion of evolution being somehow "kick-started" is an absurdity, totally counter to what we already know.

The point was to start with Tom as a basis and build from there. It was not meant to strip anything away.

I understand what you're trying to achieve in this exercise. I just don't think that it in any way mirrors the way you have actually arrived at your beliefs. I suspect that in actual fact you, like most theists, simply inherited most of your religious beliefs from your parents and have been trying to rationalise them ever since.

Actually my understanding of God has evolved over the years. I now have fairly different understanding of the nature of God than I did ten years ago. What I have attempted to do is to understand the nature of God and then adapt my thinking to that.

Here's an example of that rationalisation in play. Of course your view of God has changed; you've changed as you have grown as a person. Naturally your internal god-model will change to accommodate this.

Again I ask you; Have you ever disagreed with God about anything? I'm not talking about your gradually evolving beliefs about his nature. I'm asking if there is anything that you think God favours that you personally favour. Is there anything upon which GDR's god and GDR fundamentally disagree?

If not, you have to admit that it's a little... suspicious.

GDR writes:

I believe that to get to a world where love, kindness as justice of universal qualities we are having to go through an evolutionary process as well and that suffering as a necessary part of that process.

GDR writes:

I donít think [suffering] is helpful and I donít know why it happens.

You're contradicting yourself. You can't have that both ways. Either suffering is necessary or it is not.

If suffering is not necessary, then why would it exist?

If suffering is necessary, then what is it necessary for? What purpose does it serve? How is it helping?

You say that you do not believe that suffering is here to teach the rest of us kindness, so what is it there for?

Now I know what you're going to say; you don't know why. But can you even conceive of a hypothetical reason that would make sense? What possible reason could there be that would justify millions of innocents being born into agony?

All I do know that we are called to do all that we can to heal that child and to make his/her life as pleasant as we possibly can.

Note that none of that depends on God in the slightest bit.

I also believe that the childís probably brief difficult life now will be made up for in some way in the life to come.

That's wrong-headed. A truly moral being does not do evil unto someone and then do good to try and make up for it. A truly moral being would simply do good in the first place.

A further concern is that the suffering is indisputably real, whereas this reward you speak of is 100% non-evidenced and gives every sign of being imaginary. Again, it is a rationalisation that you have put in place to counter the problem of suffering.

Granny writes:

So children are born into pain and suffering so that we can learn to be kind? That's sick! Sick and evil! These kids are not props that others can use for self-improvement, they're people. Only a monster would use them for such purposes.

GDR writes:

Thatís why I donít believe that.

I didn't really imagine that you did, but I do think that some explanation of that sort is a necessary logical consequence of your contention that suffering is necessary to God's plan. If it is necessary, then it has to be necessary for something. What exactly?

I don't think that any excuse could be sufficient to justify the extremes of suffering that exist. I think that any contract that included such suffering as a clause is one that we should reject. That your God did not reject this contract is, I think, morally repugnant.

I donít know why disease, tsunamis, birth defects etc are necessary.

And yet you somehow imagine that they are, despite being unable to imagine how that might function. Absurd!

I donít know why Iím healthy and a friend 20 years younger has advanced MS. I donít know why I am still alive and a good friend who was bi-polar took his own life not long ago.

I do. I know.

It's "No reason."

Bad things happen to good people because there is no central organising intelligence to make it otherwise. The only moral agents that we know of that are qualified to improve upon our amoral universe are humans. Inventing supernatural entities of dubious morality only serves as a distraction from this reality.

There is a great deal I donít understand. Life so often doesnít seem fair. However, it seems to be a necessary part of the evolutionary process that will ultimately bring us to a world where illness, suffering and death will no longer exist.

No. Its only real necessity is to dig you out from the theological sand trap you've got into. If you weren't insistent on believing that a good God takes credit for our biology, then you wouldn't need to invent excuses for him when it comes to the dark side of that biology.

Mutate and Survive


This message is a reply to:
 Message 800 by GDR, posted 07-29-2013 12:18 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 862 by GDR, posted 08-03-2013 7:09 PM Granny Magda has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 860 of 1324 (704083)
08-03-2013 1:28 PM
Reply to: Message 857 by Tangle
08-03-2013 3:26 AM


Tangle writes:

Well you've just invented a whole pile of woo for no obvious reason. If Tom exists he can do whatever he wants - he's God, for God's sake! If he want to interfere with our sense of morality he can and we'd never know. (There goes the entire oncept of free will, but never mind.)

If you want woo just look at anything anything on QM.

The reason is a simple search for truth. Weíve just come to different conclusions. How do you know Tom can do whatever he wants? For whatever reason we have evolved physically and it certainly appears to me that we are evolving morally as well for reasons Iíve already outlined.

As far as free will is concerned we certainly have enough influences in this world that pull us towards selfishness. I donít see that if Tom plants a spark of knowledge in us that it just might be a good thing if we were unselfish, he has done away with free will.

Tangle writes:

I've no idea why religious believers feel that they have to invent parascience inorder to shore up their beliefs. Faith has to invent pretty much every branch of natural science to sustain her beliefs - why can't you just say i t's miraculous like they did when they invented the religions to start with?

I have said numerous times that I see science as something of a natural scripture and that we can learn about Tom or God if you want from it. Yes I look at science to help form my beliefs. Just why is that wrong? You also say I am inventing parascience. Just where have I done that? I have simply looked at the science we do know and then speculated on how that might make sense of a theistic deity or Tom.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 857 by Tangle, posted 08-03-2013 3:26 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 868 by Rahvin, posted 08-05-2013 3:07 PM GDR has responded
 Message 890 by Tangle, posted 08-08-2013 3:39 AM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 861 of 1324 (704091)
08-03-2013 4:09 PM
Reply to: Message 858 by Straggler
08-03-2013 6:18 AM


GDR writes:

We start from those diametrically opposed positions and we all come to the discussions with our own biases.

Straggler writes:

Other than the patently flawed "You cannot disprove what I choose to believe" position the second most frequently cited argument in these sorts of discussions is the "We are just applying equally valid world views to come to equal but opposite conclusions" position.
But again this is obviously not true.

That isnít the point I was making at all. I was simply acknowledging that nobody in this discussion doesnít come without their preconceived biases based on the positions we have already formed. In that statement I am making no claims as to the validity of my position.

Straggler writes:

No matter the strength of conviction or the eloquence with which it is expressed we still come back to the same fact.
On one hand we have scientifically evidenced and scientifically consistent conclusions. On the other side we have unevidenced invisible "Tom" exerting unevidenced invisible influence on some unevidenced and invisible aspect of our human selves.
Rationally speaking there is just no way that the two positions can be considered equally accurate or reliable in terms of the conclusions reached.

Those arenít the two positions though. In the case of Tom we have scientifically evidenced conclusions but our differences are over the root cause of those scientific conclusions. The other difference concerns whether or not there is more to our existence than we can perceive scientifically or at least something that is fundamental to our natures that science has yet to determine. Science doesnít rule Tom in or out.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 858 by Straggler, posted 08-03-2013 6:18 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 863 by Straggler, posted 08-05-2013 12:13 PM GDR has responded
 Message 864 by onifre, posted 08-05-2013 12:16 PM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 862 of 1324 (704101)
08-03-2013 7:09 PM
Reply to: Message 859 by Granny Magda
08-03-2013 12:07 PM


Re: Suffering
Granny Magda writes:

Sorry for the tardiness of the reply GDR. Since I know that you're having trouble with all these replies, feel free to take your time should you choose to respond.

Thanks Granny. Iím caught up again.

Granny Magda writes:

I don't think that makes a shred of sense. You can't claim belief in a general deity if you believe in a specific version of the Christian one.

The only posters other than myself on this thread have been non-theists so I didnít see a great point in discussing Christianity with people that disbelieve in the existence of any god in any shape or form. In light of that I put together a post focused on the existence of a generic god and then trying to determine to the best of our ability the nature of this god, who I named Tom so as not to be confused with any specific religion.

Yes, I believe in a generic theistic god but I also believe more than that. I believe that Jesus was/is the incarnate Word of God, that He was crucified and then bodily resurrected.

Granny Magda writes:

Just because you're not the only one doing it doesn't mean that you're not engaging in Cafeteria Christianity. Frankly, the whole Christian faith seems to me to exist as a Cafeteria version of Judaism in the first place.

In a way I donít disagree. Jesus was very rooted in His Jewishness, but at the same time He was saying that it isnít just about the Jews but about everyone, and that it isnít just about Israel but about the world. The difference obviously centres on Jesus. Was He or was He not resurrected.

Even in light of that you make a very fair comment. There is a wide diversity of views between people who call themselves Christian. Faith calls me a heretic. I saw in a recent post that jar seems to agree with Spong, so I assume, (obviously he can correct me if Iím wrong in this), but he would consider me conservative. Yes, we are all influenced culturally and socially and we are all trying our best to come to an accurate image of the nature of God.

People have suggested that I envision Tom or God if you like in the manner that suits me. To a degree thatís true but I would add that through my study of the Christian faith my views have changed considerably in order to conform to the message of Jesus. Two easy examples are that I used to believe in a very limited use of capital punishment but in coming to a better understanding of the Gospels I am now opposed in all cases. I initially supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan thinking that we were helping them, but I am now opposed philosophically to those wars, not because I have the benefit of hind-sight but that regardless of outcome I believe it was the wrong thing to do in the first place. (Iím probably opening up another can of worms here but the thread is about my beliefs so in fairness I guess I should be open about it.)

Granny Magda writes:

What you and Wright see as an evolution and refinement of our understanding of God, I see as a simple process of ignorance and superstition bein g pushed back as societies advance. First many gods, then one then none.

First off to be clear Robert Wright isnít a theist. He calls himself a ďmaterialist agnosticĒ. I of course see it in a different light. I contend that our understanding of God is becoming increasingly focused. In this thread I had a discussion with Stile. Stile was ok with being called an atheist with the recognition that the term is a bit vague. Still, we had very similar views about how we are to care for others etc. In other words we both have very similar world views but we differed on how we came to acquire those world views. In one very real sense, whether we recognize and version of Tom, we worship him by the world view that we hold. We live our lives to a set of ideals. The point is that our image of Tom is becoming more focused even among those who donít recognize him as existing but recognize the essential goodness of his character in their hearts and minds.

Granny Magda writes:

I don't think that you're doing that though. The bit that I think you're deifying is yourself. All you're really doing is filtering Christian teachings through your own moral framework and calling the results "God". But it's not God. It's just you.

I think I answered that earlier in this post. Maybe there is some truth in that but IĎd say that it is more that I have been formed by my faith. I do know that IĎve changed in many ways, in terms of actions and beliefs since becoming a Christian.

GDR writes:

No, thatís not true either. I did as come to the conclusion that we donít necessarily require a first cause for the universe on the grounds that if our universe is just one part of a greater whole, and if the whole has multiple time dimensions then our universe could be part of an infinite universe and not require a first cause.

Granny Magda writes:

Thus handily allowing you to disassociate yourself from the more traditional Christian belief that God created the visible universe and the world. A textbook God-of-the-Gaps climbdown.


I donít accept that as a fair comment. I said up front that I have two fundamental beliefs. The first is as a theist that God is good and that God is just. The second is as a Christian I believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus in which God vindicates the message that Jesus had for the world. I donít read the Bible as inerrant, and certainly not as a science text.

GDR writes:

However I do assign to God the responsibility for life

Granny Magda writes:

A textbook gap in our scientific understanding in which a weakened and outdated concept can find refuge. Classic God-of-the-Gaps stuff.

No itís not. If science can somehow chemically produce new life that still does not answer the question of whether or not it happened the first time as a result of an intelligent agent or not. All it would tell us that this time it did take an intelligent agency.

Granny Magda writes:

And it is only the fact that we still lack a complete understanding how conciou sness arises from our brains that allows you to place your god into this gap.

...and that is a classic ďscience of the gapsĒ statement.

Granny Magda writes:

Again I ask you; Have you ever disagreed with God about anything? I'm not talking about your gradually evolving beliefs about his nature. I'm asking if there is anything that you think God favours that you personally favour. Is there anything upon which GDR's god and GDR fundamentally disagree?
If not, you have to admit that it's a little... suspicious.

Yes, Iím sure there is, the problem is I donít know which part, or parts, of what I believe applies.

Granny Magda writes:

You're contradicting yourself. You ca n't have that both ways. Either suffering is necessary or it is not.
If suffering is not necessary, then why would it exist?
If suffering is necessary, then what is it necessary for? What purpose does it serve? How is it helping?
You say that you do not believe that suffering is here to teach the rest of us kindness, so what is it there for?
Now I know what you're going to say; you don't know why. But can you even conceive of a hypothetical reason that would make sense? What possible reason could there be that would justify millions of innocents being born into agony?

On one level I get it but on another I donít. My response where I said that I just donít understand was in response to a question concerning children born with horrible debilitating diseases.

In a philosophical sense, if we donít have the potential to know sorrow we canít know joy. It is the same with good and evil. If we canít choose evil then goodness just simply the way things are and we would have no understanding of it. I donít know that these are universal truths but they seem to be a truth of our existence in the world that we know. Also, as long as we live in a world where life ends in physical death, and where the love of others is a reality, sorrow is unavoidable

You ask for a hypothetical explanation for innocents being born into agony. The best I can do is this. We are not the result of instant creation. We have evolved over millions of years in a process that isnít perfect. We have evolved both physically and spiritually in a process involving billions of variables. It is an incredibly wonderful process but it isnít perfect. However, my Christian beliefs inform me that in the end these flaws will be made right somehow in the next life. It somehow seems that this life with its sufferings is a necessary prerequisite for that.

I do know that we are called to alleviate suffering in whatever way we can but in no way do I view that as a justification for the suffering of innocents. I trust that it is necessary and that in the end they will have new life free of those horrible diseases.

If I am wrong about Godís existence then those who have short lives marked by continual suffering will never receive the fullness of life and that would be far more of a tragedy.

GDR writes:

All I do know that we are called to do all that we can to heal that child and to make his/her life as pleasant as we possibly can.

Granny Magda writes:

Note that none of that depends on God in the slightest bit.

How do you know that? If our intelligence and love are from God then ultimately He is completely responsible.

Granny Magda writes:

That's wrong-headed. A truly moral being does not do evil unto someone and then do good to try and make up for it. A truly moral being would simply do good in the first place.

There is no doubt but that as a Christian this is the issue that gives me the most difficulty. In the end, all I can say about it, is that for whatever reason it is an unavoidable evil.

Granny Magda writes:

I don't think that any excuse could be sufficient to justify the extremes of suffering that exist. I think that any contract that included such suffering as a clause is one that we should reject. That your God did not reject this contract is, I think, morally repugnant.

Actually, I donít recall signing a contract. Life is what it is and in this life all of us suffer in one way or another, to one degree or another. As a Christian I can look at the suffering of Jesus and I can look at His coming through death and out the other side in a resurrected body that is the prototype for all of creation. I believe that God suffers with us and we continue to evolve trough a world that is marred by tragedy so that ultimately we too will go through death and come out into new life where there is complete love and justice.

Iíve talked about this case before as it happened in my area years ago and still comes up in the news. It is the tragic story of Michale Dunahee, a young boy presumable abducted within a few yards of the parents and never seen again.

The atheistic view then has to be that justice wasnít and probably never will be served. Michael Dunahee is probably dead and the abductor will probably never be identified and brought to justice. End of story. In the Christian version there will be justice. Michael lives on and his abductor will face justice in whatever form that takes, which would take into account things like childhood abuse etc.

Now, I suspect that you would categorize that as wishful thinking and maybe youíre right. However, the fact that we know deep down that there should be some justice is in some way an indication that ultimately there will be. At some level all of us know that we should be honest, generous and fair. I also suggest deep down that we know that there is a purpose for being like that, but ultimately if this world ends in whatever way it is going to end and there is nothing afterwards but oblivion, then there is no purpose and no meaning to any of it and the suffering and pain of the world only leads to blackness. I think that somehow we know intuitively that this world isnít like that even though we can hardly even partially understand what that means. Maybe youíre right and that is wishful thinking and that there is no hope, but my whole being tells me that youíre wrong. That however is JMHO.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 859 by Granny Magda, posted 08-03-2013 12:07 PM Granny Magda has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 872 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-06-2013 3:08 AM GDR has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


(1)
Message 863 of 1324 (704161)
08-05-2013 12:13 PM
Reply to: Message 861 by GDR
08-03-2013 4:09 PM


GDR writes:

Those arenít the two positions though.

But they are.....

GDR writes:

In the case of Tom we have scientifically evidenced conclusions but our differences are over the root cause of those scientific conclusions.

The scientifically evidenced conclusion is that the human brain evolved by means of natural selection and that things like morality and language evolved with it.

Your contention is that unevidenced invisible "Tom" is somehow exerting unevidenced invisible influence on some unevidenced and invisible aspect of our human selves such that we are moral.

Only one of these conclusions is scientific.

GDR writes:

The other difference concerns whether or not there is more to our existence than we can perceive scientifically or at least something that is fundamental to our natures that science has yet to determine.

Science isn't a method of perception. It is a method of investigation. Furtheremore it is the method of investigation that supplies us with the most accurate and reliable conclusions available.

Aside from religious belief what evidence is there in favour of your contention that invisible aspects of ourselves can detect invisible influence from an invisible being?

GDR writes:

Science doesnít rule Tom in or out.

Science "rules out" Tom as the cause of morality in the same way that science "rules out" the Immaterial Pink Unicorn as the cause of bountiful crop harvests. Both are effectively discarded in favour of better evidenced and scientifically consistent alternatives.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 861 by GDR, posted 08-03-2013 4:09 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 865 by GDR, posted 08-05-2013 2:27 PM Straggler has responded

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 1121 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


(1)
Message 864 of 1324 (704162)
08-05-2013 12:16 PM
Reply to: Message 861 by GDR
08-03-2013 4:09 PM


I was simply acknowledging that nobody in this discussion doesnít come without their preconceived biases based on the positions we have already formed.

Yes, and you again are wrong to phrase it like that.

I have no biases that I bring to this topic. You are mistaking evidence based conclusions for bias opinion.

We have evidence, not a bias.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 861 by GDR, posted 08-03-2013 4:09 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 866 by GDR, posted 08-05-2013 2:32 PM onifre has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 865 of 1324 (704170)
08-05-2013 2:27 PM
Reply to: Message 863 by Straggler
08-05-2013 12:13 PM


Straggler writes:

No matter the strength of conviction or the eloquence with which it is expressed we still come back to the same fact.
On one hand we have scientifically evidenced and scientifically consistent conclusions. On the other side we have unevidenced invisible "Tom" exerting unevidenced invisible influence on some unevidenced and invisible aspect of our human selves.
Rationally speaking there is just no way that the two positions can be considered equally accurate or reliable in terms of the conclusions reached.

GDR writes:

Those arenít the two positions though. In the case of Tom we have scientifically evidenced conclusions but our differences are over the root cause of those scientific conclusions. The other difference concerns whether or not there is more to our existence than we can perceive scientifically or at least something that is fundamental to our natures that science has yet to determine. Science doesnít rule Tom in or out.

Straggler writes:

But they are.....

The scientifically evidenced conclusion is that the human brain evolved by means of natural selection and that things like morality and language evolved with it.

Your contention is that unevidenced invisible "Tom" is somehow exerting unevidenced invisible influence on some unevidenced and invisible aspect of our human selves such that we are moral.

Only one of these conclusions is scientific.

Youíre position is no different than examining a car, researching the car and finding that it was manufactured by a robotic assembly line, and then assigning all responsibility for the car to the assembly line itself and proclaiming that to be the final solution.

We can agree that the brain evolved by means of natural selection. Iíll even accept that language and morality evolved as well, although in the case of morality I believe that Tom is a factor in that process, while agreeing that there is no scientific evidence for that position. However there is no scientific evidence that precludes it either.

What evolutionary or other process did evolution evolve from.

Straggler writes:

Science isn't a method of perception. It is a method of investigation. Furtheremore it is the method of investigation that supplies us with the most accurate and reliable conclusions available.

I have no problem with that. Science has investigated our evolutionary history and come to certain conclusions which Iím not questioning. Individual scientists in general agree about the process that has brought us to this point but science itself cannot tell us the origin of the process itself. Again, the question of whether life evolved from intelligent or mindless origins is a question that, at least at this point, science canít answer and really has nothing to say about it.

As far as Tom influencing our brains morally again we canít know scientifically. Yes our socialization and need for community can demonstrate a need for co-operation but that is not the same as morality, although it can and probably does impact our moral thinking. However, again that does not rule out the possibility of our being impacted by the still small voice of Tom imperceptivly making us aware of the morality of our decisions.

Straggler writes:

Aside from religious belief what evidence is there in favour of your contention that invisible aspects of ourselves can detect invisible influence from an invisible being?

This wonít carry any weight with anyone but myself, but I have my own personal experience as evidence. Aside from that though, I still maintain that individual altruism, where someone gives up time or wealth for someone where there is no personal relationship and from an entirely different gene pool, is evidence of there being more than just natural selection involved. I have read the naturalist rationale for that but personally I find it very unconvincing.

I would also add that all, (or at least the vast majority), of us are touched when we read accounts of people committing heroic acts of love. For example, if we read a story of someone jumping into a river thereby risking his/her life to save a drowning puppy we get a sense of comfort and warmth that is very hard to describe. (I think that even youíll agree that the puppy is not from our gene pool. ) Why would someone do that in the first place and why would it affect us the way it does.

Is there scientific evidence for my position? No.

Straggler writes:

Science "rules out" Tom as the cause of morality in the same way that science "rules out" the Immaterial Pink Unicorn as the cause of bountiful crop harvests. Both are effectively discarded in favour of better evidenced and scientifically consistent alternatives.

Science does not rule out the IPU. Science can demonstrate that natural causes resulted in bountiful crop harvests but it canít demonstrate natural causes for the natural causes.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 863 by Straggler, posted 08-05-2013 12:13 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 873 by Straggler, posted 08-06-2013 8:35 AM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 866 of 1324 (704171)
08-05-2013 2:32 PM
Reply to: Message 864 by onifre
08-05-2013 12:16 PM


oni writes:

Yes, and you again are wrong to phrase it like that.

I have no biases that I bring to this topic. You are mistaking evidence based conclusions for bias opinion.

We have evidence, not a bias.

What is the evidence that natural processes evolved from some other mindless natural process as opposed to natural processes being the result of an intelligent first cause?


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 864 by onifre, posted 08-05-2013 12:16 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 867 by Theodoric, posted 08-05-2013 2:42 PM GDR has responded
 Message 874 by onifre, posted 08-06-2013 11:13 AM GDR has responded

    
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6303
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 867 of 1324 (704172)
08-05-2013 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 866 by GDR
08-05-2013 2:32 PM


Since there is no evidence of the supernatural why would that be the default?
We have evidence of natural processes evolving from other natural processes(your use of "mindless" is meaningless and a poor attempt to muddy the waters). We have NO evidence for the supernatural or any "intelligent first cause".

Why would I or anyone else consider an answer that has absolutely no evidence?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 866 by GDR, posted 08-05-2013 2:32 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 869 by GDR, posted 08-05-2013 5:01 PM Theodoric has responded

    
Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1357 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 868 of 1324 (704175)
08-05-2013 3:07 PM
Reply to: Message 860 by GDR
08-03-2013 1:28 PM


If you want woo just look at anything anything on QM.

QM is most emphatically not woo.

Some people make up woo because of QM...but that's a problem deriving from their own irrationality, and often ignorance.

Physics, including QM, observes and models the way that the world really is. Frequently, and especially with quantum mechanics, those observations are strongly counter-intuitive to human brains whose ancestral environment has no analogue and which has difficulty instinctively modelling even Newtonian mechanics.

Quantum mechanics isn't weird, and our instinctual expectations of the world normal. Rather, quantum mechanics is normal, and it's out expectation that the world works in some different way that is the aberration.

Many people, even many scientists, forget that...or it doesn't even occur to them. The world works the way the world works, and even when we add in things like "quantum entanglement," which Einstein once referred to as "spooky action at a distance," it doesn't provide rational justification for believing or indeed even hypothesizing that this opens a gateway for all manner of "spiritual" or other "nonphysical" nonsense.

We don't really "observe" the world into its current state. We don't actually remake the Universe by observing it. That myth is borne of a misunderstanding of the Uncertainty Principle, and a conflation of terms from their usage in physics to their colloquial definitions.

The reason is a simple search for truth. Weíve just come to different conclusions.

Indeed. And yet the reason is not that each of our conclusions are equally valid. Your position involves a massive amount of irrational handwaving piled atop shifting goalposts, logical fallacies, and desperate wishful thinking.

I let my previous post stand, GDR. I'd like to see your reply, when you get a chance.


ďThe human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.Ē - Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers

ďA world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.Ē Ė Albert Camus

"...the pious hope that by combining numerous little turds of variously tainted data, one can obtain a valuable result; but in fact, the outcome is merely a larger than average pile of shit." - Barash, David 1995...

"Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends." - Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien: The Lord Of the Rings

Nihil supernum


This message is a reply to:
 Message 860 by GDR, posted 08-03-2013 1:28 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 870 by GDR, posted 08-05-2013 5:30 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 869 of 1324 (704197)
08-05-2013 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 867 by Theodoric
08-05-2013 2:42 PM


Theodoric writes:

Since there is no evidence of the supernatural why would that be the default?

I donít see it as a default position. It is simply the conclusion I have come to. Also, I have become a little uncomfortable with the term supernatural. Iím more of the mind that everything in the long run is natural but that there is still a great deal left to be discovered.

For example if you had told someone 100 years ago about a myriad of things that we know scientifically today, he/she would have thought that you were talking would be considered supernatural. If there is another dimension/universe out there that is interlocked with our own through which a higher intelligence interacts with us in one way or another, then actually that is only supernatural until science is able to discover it and then itís natural.

Theodoric writes:

We have evidence of natural processes evolving from other natural processes(your use of "mindless" is meaningless and a poor attempt to muddy the waters).

Iíll accept that we have natural processes evolving from other natural processes, (although Iím not at all sure what you have in mind), but the question is what was the natural process that kicked off evolution from base elements to sentient life in the first place.

Ok I believe that we are the result of an intelligent agent. I use the term mindless as it seems to work as well as any. What term would you like me to use? Isnít evolution resulting from a chance combination of base elements mindless?

Theodoric writes:

We have NO evidence for the supernatural or any "intelligent first cause".
Why would I or anyone else consider an answer that has absolutely no evidence?

There is no scientific evidence. Again, we are either the result of an intelligent agency with intention, or we are the result of a ________(you can fill in the blank as you donít like mindless) agency that is purposeless.

There is no scientific evidence for either position so we have to form our conclusions based on other considerations.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 867 by Theodoric, posted 08-05-2013 2:42 PM Theodoric has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 871 by Theodoric, posted 08-05-2013 5:54 PM GDR has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4817
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 870 of 1324 (704200)
08-05-2013 5:30 PM
Reply to: Message 868 by Rahvin
08-05-2013 3:07 PM


Rahvin writes:

Physics, including QM, observes and models the way that the world really is. Frequently, and especially with quantum mechanics, those observations are strongly counter-intuitive to human brains whose ancestral environment has no analogue and which has difficulty instinctively modelling even Newtonian mechanics.

That's what I meant by it being woo. Not that it's wrong but it is not at all what we would expect.

Rahvin writes:

Many people, even many scientists, forget that...or it doesn't even occur to them. The world works the way the world works, and even when we add in things like "quantum entanglement," which Einstein once referred to as "spooky action at a distance," it doesn't provide rational justification for believing or indeed even hypothesizing that this opens a gateway for all manner of "spiritual" or other "nonphysical" nonsense.

My point in bringing that up was simply to point out that information does not only exist within the brain. It is not meant as a proof anything, however when we consider that information can pass between particles without any connection between the two that is discernible to us, then it does in broad terms show that information could conceivably pass to the particles of our brains without a apparent connection.

Rahvin writes:

Indeed. And yet the reason is not that each of our conclusions are equally valid. Your position involves a massive amount of irrational handwaving piled atop shifting goalposts, logical fallacies, and desperate wishful thinking.

Frankly I don't believe that is a fair assessment. Yes, I'm prepared to have my views change with new information. I don't believe that and holy book including the Bible is to be read as the last word on Tom or God. (Tom being a generic intelligent agency and God being the God of the Bible.) I certainly believe that we can learn from a great many sources and as a Christian I see the Bible as being hugely important, but it isn't a science text.

I agree that our opinions aren't equally valid. I contend that the idea that we evolved from raw base elements by chance is far more far fetched that that we evolved from raw elements as a result of an intelligent agency.

I will go back to your earlier post and give you a response.

Cheers


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 868 by Rahvin, posted 08-05-2013 3:07 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

    
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